Barrister and former Dean of the Faculty of Advocates

Born: January 31, 1950;

Died: August 26, 2019

ROY Martin, who has died aged 69, was a distinguished former Dean of the Faculty of Advocates and one of the few counsels to attain the distinction of Queen’s Counsel in both Scotland and England and Wales. He was also a member of the Bar of Northern Ireland and the Bar of New South Wales.

Martin was recognised as one of the leading silks at the Scottish Bar and regarded within the legal profession as a leading authority on both Planning and Environmental Law and Commercial Dispute Resolution, Real Estate Litigation and Pensions.

His career at the bar focused on dispute resolution with his practice incorporating both domestic and international arbitration. His abilities were recognised internationally when he was appointed an approved international arbitrator by the International Chamber of Commerce and as a Judge in the Courts of Appeal of Jersey and Guernsey.

In his post as Dean of the Faculty Martin meticulously represented the leading practitioners of Scotland’s legal profession – including the 460 practising advocates and QCs, the judges, sheriffs and academics. He was elected to the post in 2004 and stepped down in 2007.

Keith Pritchard, secretary of the Law Society of Scotland, told The Herald: “Roy had outstanding legal knowledge and was an exceptional man. He performed his duties as Dean of the Faculty supremely well and was generous of his time and experience advising younger members of the profession.

“I am chairman of the Jean Clark Foundation, which helps fund legal education. Roy’s contribution to the Foundation’s success was considerable. He also revived the charitable dining club, The Wagering Club, which had ceased to exist. It was his drive and enthusiasm that made it happen. Typical of him.”

Robert Roy Logan Martin was born in Glasgow the son of Robert and Dr. Janet Martin. He attended Paisley Grammar School and then read law at Glasgow University graduating with an LLB.

From 1973 until 1976 he worked as a solicitor, and was admitted to the Bar in Scotland in 1976 and in England and Wales in 1991. He became a Queen’s Counsel in 1988.

Martin was elected Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Advocates in 2001 and held the post until 2004, when he succeeded Colin Campbell QC (Lord Malcolm) as Dean. He was also the founding chairman of Terra Firma Chambers.

As Dean, he scrupulously upheld the independence of the judiciary in Scotland. In a speech in 2007 to newly-qualified solicitors Martin accused politicians of undermining the independence of the legal profession. In a report in The Herald he delivered a hard-hitting and controversial speech against new regulations.

“These regulations and legal aid funding problems” he said, “are eroding the time-honoured and cherished independence from the state.”

He was also in the news in 2006 when he was asked to comment on the growth in numbers at the Faculty. He suggested that a substantial number of members might practise away from Edinburgh. Asked if the centuries-held perception that the Faculty was an Edinburgh, rather than a Scottish, body, and that more facilities should be provided in Glasgow, he replied: “Speaking personally, yes. I have always felt the Faculty is there to serve all of Scotland.”

Martin served as a Temporary Sheriff, a part-time Chair of Industrial Tribunals, and a Chair of the Police Appeals Tribunal. He was Honorary Professor at the University of Glasgow School of Law (2006 to 2016) and a Trustee of the National Library of Scotland and of the Melville Trust. He was a governor, then chairman (2002-2012), of Loretto School.

Lord Woolman was a close friend of many years. He told The Herald: “Roy was a man with a brilliant legal brain and a powerful and independent mind. As an advocate he had the knack of having the ‘ear of the court’ - a valuable quality in advocacy. When he was Dean he acted with absolute fairness on behalf barristers, who, in turn, trusted him completely.

“As a man Roy was totally honourable and of great integrity. He was polite and charming and blessed with a wonderful sense of old world courtesy. He had a great love of classic cars – including a delight in owning an Aston Martin.”

Apart from his commanding knowledge of the law and world affairs Martin had a wide range of interests. He was a polite and charming man – both personally and in court – and was a keen skier and a keen shot, and was interested in modern architecture and vintage cars. He had recently started to learn to play bridge.

Martin married Fiona Neil in 1984. They had met on the slopes while they were skiing in the Alps. She and their children Rory, Camilla and Phoebe survive him as does his brother, Candy. There will a memorial service at Loretto School on Monday, October 28, at 2pm.